An abridged plagiarism of Sir Walter Scott’s 1823 novel Quentin Durward, this chapbook follows the grotesque adventures of Scottish cavalier Quentin Durward and his romance with the beautiful Countess Isabelle.
Durward and Isabelle appears to be a flimsy few scraps of paper being held together by what looks like a piece of twine. The full title is simply Durward and Isabelle. The book is bound together with another chapbook, Mary, the Maid of the Inn, which precedes Durward and Isabelle. It appears as though the back of Mary, the Maid of the Inn, was ripped out, since there are remnants of torn paper at the last page. The paper of Durward and Isabelle is not as yellow compared to Mary, the Maid of the Inn, and the two texts are printed in different fonts. This suggests that Durward and Isabelle was likely bound to Mary, the Maid of the Inn at a later time.
The origins of this chapbook remain a mystery,
as there is no listed author. However, the publisher is listed at the bottom of
the final page as “Dean and Munday, Threadneedle-Street, London.” Mary, the
Maid of the Inn has a title page with a different publisher listed. The
cover of Mary, the Maid of the Inn does have some handwriting on it, but
it is impossible to know if this was written before or after the chapbooks were
The dimensions of the book are about 11cm x 16
cm, so it is fairly small. Durward and Isabelle is thirty-six pages
long, while the previous story is twenty-five pages, making for a total of sixty-one
pages bound together by a single piece of fraying string. The last page of Durward
and Isabelle has fallen off but is still kept with the book in the library.
The pages are very brittle and dry, and are also very frail and yellowed,
likely due to the wear and tear that the book has been subject to over the
years. The margins are decently sized while the font is relatively small but
not difficult to read. There is a surprisingly large amount of spacing between
paragraphs. The margins are uneven: there is little to no space at the top at
the top of the book, while there are much larger side margins.
While Mary, the Maid of the Inn contains
a fold-out illustration, there are no illustrations in Durward &
Isabelle. There are some words handwritten on the cover: in the top right
corner, the word “romance” is written in pencil and “1822” (the year Mary,
the Maid of the Inn was published) in ink. On the bottom of the cover,
there is a series of numbers and letters without clear meaning.
Durward and Isabelle is a chapbook that is a plagiarized and abridged version of Quentin Durward, a novel written by Sir Walter Scott published in 1823. The author of Durward and Isabelle is not known. At only thirty-six pages, the chapbook is much shorter than the original novel and brushes over many of the major plot points. While the original novel is focused on Quentin Durward and his adventures, the chapbook is more focused on Durward’s adventures that involve his relationship with Isabelle, hence the title Durward and Isabelle. The plagiarized chapbook was published by Dean and Munday, as printed on the last page of the book. Dean and Munday was a popular publishing institution established in 1810 that published many other chapbooks. The Dean and Munday families lived together and raised their children together in their home behind the shop on Threadneedle Street. Two cousins, Thomas Dean and Thomas Munday, became apprentices, then later became partners in the firm. This partnership lasted until 1838, when it was permanently dissolved (Potter 86). According to Franz Potter, “During these early years at Dean & Munday, the firm also reissued a number of well-known gothic pamphlets originally published by other booksellers” (87). Durward and Isabelle is listed as one of the one-shilling pamphlets published by Dean and Munday in a book titled The French Revolution of 1830: Being a Succinct Account of the Tyrannical Attempt of Charles X. to Overturn the French Constitution. Interestingly, Mary, the Maid of the Inn is also on this list of Dean and Munday pamphlets printed with The French Revolution of 1830, though the copy of Mary, the Maid of the Innbound with the Sadleir-Black Collection’s copy of Durward and Isabelle was published by Orlando Hodgson not Dean and Munday.
Given Sir Walter Scott’s significance, there is an abundance of
information about his original novel Quentin Durward by contrast with
the dearth of information on the plagiarized and abridged Durward and
Isabelle. In a late nineteenth-century edition of Quentin Durward edited
by Charlotte M. Yonge, Yonge includes a historical introduction in which she
writes that Scott “held that it was lawful for art to throw together historical
characters and facts with more regard to effect than to accuracy or detail, and
thus to leave a stronger impression on the mind. And there can be no doubt that
the tale he has given us has fixed on thousands of minds a strong and definite
impression of the characters of Louis XI” (14). In writing this, Yonge
identifies the significant impact that the characters of Quentin Durward
had on the public point of view.
There are other notable adaptations of Scott’s novel, including Quentin
Durward; a dramatic adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, in three acts and
three scenes, by Charles Andrew Merz and Frank Wright Tuttle.This
adaptation was published in 1914 and is associated with the Yale University
Dramatic Association. There are digital copies of the original Quentin
Durward and its adaptations available on ProQuest One Literature and the
HathiTrust Library. The novel was even adapted into a film called The
Adventures of Quentin Durward, released in 1955.
Narrative Point of View
Durward and Isabelle is narrated in the third
person, and the narrator is never named nor are we given any context on how
they learned of the story. The story is told in a very straightforward fashion,
yet still manages to incorporate feelings of characters. The narration is
filled with expansive sentences, with an emphasis on depicting events and with minimal
The young and beautiful Isabelle had fled from Burgundy, to avoid being married to one of the Duke’s favourites; and whether she was really under King Louis’s protection, was not certainly known. Durward could not help conjecturing, from circumstances, that the young lady he had seen in the morning, and with whose charms he had been smitten, was, in fact, the young countess. While the knowledge of her rank and misfortunes interested him yet more strongly in her fate, it tended to damp any presumptuous hopes which love might have induced him to form. (8)
As seen here, in Durward and Isabelle the
narration is succinct and descriptive, and effectively explains the characters’
thoughts and feelings at certain moments. This can be seen when Durward deduces
that the woman he saw is the countess, and the narration presents not only what
he knows but how he feels with his subsequently lowered “hopes.”
Durward and Isabelle tells the tale of a fifteenth-century Scottish cavalier, Durward,
and Isabelle, a Countess. The story begins when Durward is met by King Louis XI
of France by chance. Durward introduces himself as a cadet of Scotland, who
came to France to seek fortune. It is later revealed that his father and
remaining family members were killed by a rivaling clan, and this caused his
mother to die of grief. Upon Durward’s introduction, the King also discovers
that he knows Durward’s uncle, Lesie, who comes to the castle to meet him and
the king. The king eventually decides to recruit this young cavalier as one of
his men, after consulting with his astronomer, Martius Galeoletti, who says
that Durward has good intentions. Durward has multiple encounters with Isabelle
throughout the beginning of the story, as she is residing at the castle where
the king lives.
One day while Durward is strolling through the garden, he comes
across a man hanging from a tree. Appalled by this circumstance, he immediately
climbs up the tree and cuts the rope, onlooking Bohemians react badly to this
action. The king’s right-hand man, Provost Marshall, takes them all prisoner.
Durward thinks he is going to be hanged along with the Bohemians but then
proceeds to defend himself, claiming he is from Scotland which is an allied
country. His life is spared.
It is revealed that the reason Isabelle is under the king’s
protection is because she fled from Burgundy after discovering that she was to
be married to one of the duke’s men. A count sent by the Duke of Burgundy
appears while searching for the ladies (Isabelle and her Aunt). The king
refuses to give them up and, after the count threatens to wage war on the
kingdom, the king decides to send Isabelle and her aunt away to Liege to be
under the protection of the bishop. The king appoints Durward in charge of
taking Lady Isabelle and her aunt to Liege with three soldiers and a guide.
Throughout their journey they encounter many men who want to claim possession
of Isabelle, including William de la Marck, a feared man from the area, and the
Duke of Orleans, who is to be wed to Isabelle’s sister but would rather marry
William de la Marck, in a fit of rage, decides to take over the city of Liege and murders the bishop in cold blood. Durward and Isabelle must escape together. During the siege, Durward presents himself to Willam de la Marck and says that if they are to be allied with France, they must not present themselves with this sort of conduct, so William de la Marck complies, and they all leave. De la Marck then threatens to return because he hears word that Isabelle is still hiding in the city. Isabelle at this point is willing to sacrifice herself to the Duke of Burgundy and decides she will offer to give up her patrimonial estates and ask permission to retire in a convent. They make it back to the Duke of Burgundy and the same day, the king decides to visit him too. The Duke of Burgundy hears about William de la Marcks violent tactics and believes that this is King Louis’ doing. He imprisons the king and plans for his execution.
After days of trials and Durward’s statement is given, the duke
determines that the king is innocent and decides they are to combine forces to
capture William de la Marck. Who will receive Isabelle’s hand in marriage
remains in question, so as incentive, the duke says that whoever is successful
in killing de la Marck wins Isabelle’s hand in marriage. Upon hearing this,
Durward searches for de la Marck, and finds him decapitated. In defeat, he
returns to the castle only to discover his uncle Lesie standing with William de
la Marck’s head, which he brought on Durward’s behalf. Durward and Isabelle are
both pleased with the arrangement and end up married together happily ever
Durward and Isabelle. London, Dean & Munday, n.d.
The French Revolution of 1830:
Being a Succinct Account of the Tyrannical Attempt of Charles X. to Overturn the French
Constitution, Etc. [With a Plate.]. Dean & Munday, 1830.
Merz, Charles Andrew, and Frank Wright Tuttle. Quentin
Durward: a Dramatic Adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s Novel, in Three Acts
and Three Scenes.New
Haven, Yale University
Dramatic Association, 1914.
Potter, Franz J. Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks
and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830. University of Wales Press, 2021.
Yonge, Charlotte M.
“Introduction.” Quentin Durward, by Sir Walter Scott. Boston, Ginn & Co, 1895.
A tale of adventure, romance, and friendship, John Corry’s 1803 chapbook follows a protagonist’s escape from political persecution, and later follows the story of distant lovers.
Arthur and Mary, a gothic novel written by John Corry, was published in 1803. Arthur and Mary is currently located in the Sadler-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction in the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library. It is interesting to note that the edition of Arthur and Mary in the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library bears the full title Arthur and Mary, or the Fortunate Fugitives. The title page of this book looks especially modern, with a clear description of the title, author, and publisher of this book. The author’s name, John Corry, is qualified by a sentence reading “author of a satirical view of London, The Detector of quackery, & c.” While the general organization of the book looks modern, such as the title page and the way that book is split into chapters with page numbers at the top of each page, the age of this book is clearly seen in the novel’s appearance. This novel is fairly small, about 6.75 inches long by 4.25 inches wide, with delicate, thin pages. These pages are yellowed, somewhat textured, brittle, and have faint fingerprints on a few pages. The color of these pages resembles a paper that is covered with marks from tea bags. It appears as though only a thin layer of glue is holding the pages of this book together, as there is no clear material binding. This novel most likely had a leather binding with string running through each page holding the pages together, as this was a common binding method during the time period in which Arthur and Mary, or the Fortunate Fugitives was printed. Similarly, there are multiple holes on the side of the pages, suggesting that there was in fact a string that used to hold this book together. This book is clearly aged, and representative of what a book printed over two-hundred years ago would look like.
The overall appearance of this book is worn, used, and stained. The structured format of the title pages and chapters as well as the detailed illustration on inside of the front cover, gives an elegant feel to the book, and suggests thoughtful writing. However, the fact that the original binding of this book is not preserved and that the gothic genre was considered an unsophisticated genre during the time that this book was printed lends a cheap feel to this book. When looking at a randomly selected page in the book, it is clear that there is consistency within the novel. For instance, like the various pages in the novel, the randomly selected page was yellowed, somewhat textured, brittle, and had faint fingerprint marks. The text on all of the pages appears smaller than a standard font in more modern novels, which might be due to the small size of the book in general.
The illustration on the inside cover of the first page is captioned “Mary half dead, held by the rock with the instinctive eagerness of self-preservation,” and depicts a scene from the novel. In the foreground, this illustration depicts a woman holding on to rocks in the middle of a sea, in somewhat of a helpless way. In the background, this illustration depicts a shipwreck, as well as another person located on the other side of the rocks. There are no illustrations throughout the rest of the book, but there does appear to be decorative elements on the title page and on the pages that start a new chapter. The last page of the book is the last page of the story. There is no additional page after the final page of text.
There are no indications of ownership in this book: no names written in the book, notes in the margin, stamps from libraries, bookplates, inserts, or other post-production marks. This could suggest that the book was in the hands of only a few people.
John Corry—author of Arthur and Mary, or the Fortunate Fugitives—was born in north Ireland, and began his writing career in Dublin as a journalist (Mulvihill). His upbringing and education are unknown, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that he is presumed to have been self-taught (Goodwinn). In the early 1790s, he moved to London where he became a bookseller and publisher at Princess Street, Leicester Square, and also became a member of the Philological Society of Manchester (Mulvihill, Pitcher 83). The journals The Miscellaneous Works of John Corry, and Romantic London: John Corry and the Georgic City both cite the difficulty in articulating John Corry’s cannon (Mulvihill, Pitcher 83). The Miscellaneous Works of John Corry cites that the reason for this lack of a cannon is because “many of [John Corry’s] publications have been difficult to date accurately, because new editions and reissues of titles were frequent, and because works first published as part of a series were often reprinted separately” (Pitcher 83). However, it is certain that Corry’s work included poetry, novels, biographies, histories, satires, and juvenile literature (Mulvihill, Pitcher 83). Corry’s main writings in London are A Satirical View of London, The English Metropolis, Memoirs of Edward Thornton, and A Sketch of Modern Dissipation in London (Mulvihill). Corry’ biographical writings include biographies on George Washington (1800), William Cowper (1803), and Joseph Priestley (1804) (Goodwinn). In addition to Arthur and Mary, John Corry published seventeen other books from 1800 to 1815. Limited information about John Corry’s life after 1825 is known, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that his “works have now fallen into complete obscurity” (Goodwinn).
In 1803, Crosby and Co, a London-based publishing company, published Arthur and Mary (Mulvihill). Crosby and Co. published Arthur and Mary in English, and English is assumed to be the only language that Arthur and Mary has been published in as there are no indications of this book being translated. The journal article “Making Austen Mad: Benjamin Crosby and the Non-Publication of ‘Susan,’” examines all of Crosby and Co.’s publications, and notes that Crosby and Co. published mainly “musical pieces and songs,” as well as “numerous children’s works” (Mandal 513). These musical pieces and songs mainly consisted of religious discourses and sermons, and the children’s works mainly consisted of conduct-books and educational textbooks (Mandal 513). Thus, Arthur and Mary was a less popular type of publication for Crosby and Co. The journal article argues that Crosby and Co. “was certainty not as low-key as” some critics have professed, as proven by prominent titles that Crosby and Co. published (Mandal 513). This journal article, however, does not categorize Arthur and Mary as one of these prominent titles, and states that “Crosby and Co.’s less eminent credentials are underlined by the fair number of chapbooks it published” (Mandal 513). In its footnote, this journal article cites Arthur and Mary as one of these chapbooks.
One edition of Arthur and Mary is located in the Sadleir-Black Collection in the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. Arthur and Mary is cited in Montague Summers’s Gothic Bibliography (236). The WorldCat database indicates that other than the University of Virginia library, there are only four other libraries that have Arthur and Mary in their collections. These libraries include the Northwestern University Library in Illinois, US, the University of Notre Dame Library in Indiana, US, and the University of Oxford Library in the UK. This suggests that there are not many publications of Arthur and Mary in circulation, and possibly not many printings or subsequent editions of this book. There is no indication that this book has any prequels or sequels, or that there are any contemporary digital copies of this book on the Internet.
There is not much information about how Arthur and Mary was received when it was originally published, demonstrated by the absence of reviews about this book, or of any information about how many copies of this book were sold. Arthur and Mary,however, is mentioned in Franz J. Potter’s The History of Gothic Publishing, 1800–1835 in Appendix 2 “Gothic Bluebooks, 1799–1835” (166).
Narrative Point of View
Arthur and Mary is narrated in third person by an omniscient narrator who is never introduced in the text. The narrator’s style consists of detailed descriptions of scenery, events, and characters’ internal emotions. The narration begins following only Arthur, the protagonist of the novel, and his journey away from his home due to political persecution. The narrator later follows Mary, Arthur’s love interest, in addition to Arthur, and tells both storylines of the characters falling in love and each character’s journey traveling from Ireland to London. The narration is chronological, told in the past tense, and does not contain any flashbacks. The narrator writes in concise, yet descriptive, sentences with a hopeful and passionate tone.
Example of Third-Person Narration:
When Mary retired to her room she found this letter, and read it with a tumultuous emotion of mingling passions. Surprise, love, and joy, electrified every nerve. She resolved to answer the letter, which she read repeatedly, and her vanity was not a little gratified with the contents. It was the first love-letter she had ever received; but how to answer it was the point. She placed paper upon the table before her, dipped her pen into the ink, and after casting a scrutinizing glance round her chamber, she began with a palpitating heart. Her hand trembled so much that she could not write one word — she desisted — went to a window and opened it to admit fresh air — her spirits revived, and summoning all her fortitude, she wrote as follows… (14)
The narrator’s concise yet heavily detailed sentences are present throughout this passage. This passage occurs directly after Mary finds Arthur’s letter, in which he professes his love for her, and directly before the narrator tells of what is said in Mary’s letter back to Arthur. The explicit description of Mary’s emotions after Mary reads Arthur’s letter, using words like “tumultuous,” “mingling,” “electrified,” “palpitating,” and “trembled,” adds to the suspense of the novel, as these words signify such great levels of feeling and passion. Consequently, this passage, as representative of the narration throughout the novel, demands attention from the reader. The thorough description of Mary’s actions after reading the letter are also consistent with many gothic tropes, including romance, mystery and fear, and confinement. Verbs like “began” and “revived” in this passage reveal the hopeful and passionate tone found throughout the novel, as this language suggests possibility.
This novel begins by introducing Arthur, a sixteen-year-old boy living just outside of Newry, Ireland. Arthur is the son of a farmer, and is taken out of school in order to be homeschooled in agriculture. The novel quickly transitions to Arthur at the age of twenty-two, and describes Arthur as a “tall and well-made” man, whose “mind was ardent,” “passions [were] strong,” and who “view[ed] the world through the medium of enthusiasm” with an “erroneous opinion” (6). With Ireland’s politics in turmoil, Arthur joins the popular party. His outspoken opinions prompt a neighbor to inform the town of Newry, Ireland, that Arthur is a “disseminator of sedition” (6). As a result, soldiers arrive at Arthur’s home and search for him, but Arthur escapes and sets out for England.
On his journey across Ireland, Arthur travels over mountains, passing small villages, and appreciates the mountains, sea, and nature surrounding him. Hunger prompts him to find a large farmhouse, where Owen Conolly, the owner of the farm, receives him with hospitality. Owen is the proprietor of the valley in which this farm is located, and his ancestors had taken possession of this valley when they sought asylum from English King Oliver Cromwell. Arthur sleeps over at this farmhouse, and when he wakes up, he is introduced to Owen’s eighteen-year-old daughter, Mary.
Mary is reserved and bashful, and her “feminine charms” catch Arthur’s admiration (2). As a result, Arthur decides that he should stay at the farm until the political persecution in Newry is over, and during this time he will tutor Mary each day to “further [the] improvement of her mind” (11). Each day, Mary’s beauty captivates Arthur, and he begins falling in love with her. Arthur writes a note to Mary detailing that he has liked her since the moment he saw her, and now he is in love with her and requests that she accept his heart. In finding this letter, Mary is filled with emotions, and writes back saying that she worries Arthur is not genuine in his expression of love, as he is a “gentleman” and she is a “poor woman” (14). Nevertheless, Arthur professes his love for Mary a second time while on a walk together, and she reciprocates these feelings. They kiss, and vow to temporarily keep their love a secret.
Owen’s oblivion to Arthur and Mary’s love prompts him to give his blessing to Terence Finn, a rich young farmer who became enamored with Mary after seeing her at mass. Terence arrives at the farmhouse, and professes his affection for Mary, but Mary rejects this affection and turns down Terence. Earlier that evening, Owen informed Terence of Arthur’s predicament, and how he is seeking protection from Newry soldiers. When Terence realizes that Mary is in love with Arthur, Terence rides to Newry and informs Arthur’s rivals of Arthur’s whereabouts.
The following day, soldiers arrived at the farmhouse. The soldiers take Arthur into custody, and shove Mary to the ground as she runs to Arthur’s defense and demands that the soldiers take her too. Enraged by the soldier’s aggression towards Mary, Arthur attacks the soldier, and consequently is shot and taken to the county jail in Newry. In distress, Mary travels to the county jail with her loyal friend, Anna. Anna creates an escape plan where she and Arthur switch clothes in order to create a disguise for Arthur. This plan works and Arthur escapes with Mary. Mary returns to her village and Arthur travels to Liverpool.
Jobless with no friends in Liverpool, Arthur travels to Birmingham. One night during the journey, he wakes up with a fever due to his extensive travels. He slowly recovers after a week of illness, and continues his journey to Birmingham with no money and no home. During this journey, he meets Mr. Heron, a native of Ireland who had just sold his small estate in Ireland. Mr. Heron is traveling across Europe by foot, and Arthur joins him on his way to Birmingham. Throughout their journey, Arthur is charmed by Mr. Heron’s charisma and has a strong belief that philanthropy is a “duty we owe to society” (23). When they reach Birmingham, Mr. Heron urges Arthur to accompany him further on his journey across Europe. Mary’s “voice of love secretly remind[s] Arthur of his solemn promise,” and prompts Arthur to refuse Mr. Heron’s request. Arthur and Mr. Heron part ways (23).
Arthur sets out to London and starts an academy for instructing the youth of London. He constantly writes to Mary, and urges her to come to London. Upon getting Owen’s approval, Mary prepares to travel to London with Anna. Mary and Anna begin their voyage at sea, and Mary is devastated to leave her father and possibly never again return to Ireland, but determined to reconnect with Arthur. Mary and Anna come in contact with a major storm towards the end of their voyage, as they are just off of the Welsh Coast. This storm creates massive waves, thrusting the ship towards the rocky Welsh Coast. The ship crashes into the coast and breaks into pieces, forcing the passengers to swim to shore for survival. Mary and Anna grab wood from the destroyed ship, and venture towards the coast. As they arrive on the coast, Anna helps Mary get on to a rock, but as she attempts to also get on the rock, her traction is lost. The strong waves forcefully throw Anna into the rock, and she is killed.
Other survivors of the shipwreck carry Mary to a farmhouse on the coast, where Mary is distraught about Anna’s death. She writes to Arthur, telling him about the shipwreck, and about her arrival in Conway, Wales. Arthur arrives in Conway and he and Mary are reunited. When they reunite, Mary forgets all of her misfortunes.
Arthur and Mary get married in Conway, and set out for Arthur’s home in Birmingham the next day. Arthur is said to love England, and to frequently write both his parents and Owen. The novel ends with Arthur happily in love with Mary, engaged in teaching the youth as his occupation, and enjoying “all those social gratifications which are essential to rational felicity” (36).
A. A. Mandal. “Making Austen Mad: Benjamin Crosby and the Non-Publication of ‘Susan.’” The Review of English Studies, vol. 57, no. 231, 2006, pp. 507–25
Corry, John. Arthur and Mary: Or the Fortunate Fugitives. Printed for B. Crosby and Co. [etc.], 1803.
Don Algonah: the Sorceress of Montillo, published in 1802 and republished several times, is a tale of adventure, magic, violence, and a quest for unforbidden love that takes place in Madrid, Spain.
Don Algonah: Or the
Sorceress of Montillo. A Romantic Tale consists of 71 pages and is approximately 10 cm by 17.5 cm. The author
is unknown because there is no author name printed on any of the pages. At
first glance, the book appears very aged because of the missing cover and
discolored pages that are loosely hanging onto the binding. You must be careful
while looking through the book as to not accidentally fold the brittle and thin
pages. Some pages can be seen peeking out from the side because they are no
longer attached to the rest of the book. The outer edges of the book are also
discolored and shriveled. Surprisingly, none of the pages are missing and the
text is still very clear and readable.
The original front
and back cover of the book is missing, leaving a blank page on both sides. This
is most likely because this book was originally part of a pamphlet consisting
of multiple stories. It was very common for multiple stories to be printed into
one pamphlet. As a result, some booksellers thought they could make a larger
profit by selling the stories individually, so they would rip the stories out
of the pamphlet. Although both front and back covers are missing, we can still
see traces of brown, fuzzy leather with blue and gold designs on the binding.
It is very likely that the covers of the book were made of the same leather
material. There are also three small holes near the binding on every page and a
piece of string strewn between a different set of holes. The pages were
originally sewn with a needle, but someone pulled the pages apart and then
bound it back together again. The blank front page also has the word “romance”
written on the top left corner.
On page three there is a title page with the book’s full title printed at the top and a detailed black and white illustration of men sitting around a fire. There is another black and white illustration on the left page of a tall man with a knife. Both illustrations use hatching which is a technique used to create different shades. This book was probably produced very cheaply because non-colored illustrations were much cheaper. A previous owner of the book also handwrote their name on the top corner of page three.
Every page has a page
number printed on the top. Some pages also have a capital letter followed by a
number at the very bottom. The pages of a book were printed on a large sheet of
paper and the book binder would have to fold the paper with multiple pages on
the front and make and make sure the pages were in the right order. The letter
and number pair was for the book binder to make sure the pages were in order
without having to know the page numbers.
Don Algonah: Or the
Sorceress of Montillo is the second edition published by T. Hurst in 1802. The first edition
was published the same year. The book does not explicitly state who the author
is, but the bottom of the title page mentions that the book was printed for T.
Hurst and sold by J. Wallis. The authorship is unknown. Thomas Hurst was a
publisher in London during the nineteenth century. The novel does not
explicitly state who the illustrator is, but underneath the black and white
image, the names Rhodes Sculp and Craig Pinx are printed in a tiny font. There
are several other digitized books online with a similar illustration style on
the cover and the name Rhodes Sculp written underneath.
The book was printed
by J. Cundee, a British printer located at Albion Press, Ivy Lane, Paternoster
Row in London. The book was originally printed in English as a chapbook. A
chapbook is a small inexpensive booklet containing short literature. There is a
third edition printed the same year, 1802, and it is the second story in volume
I of The Marvellous Magazine and Compendium
of Prodigies. The entire magazine
comprises of four volumes and each volume consists of many gothic stories from
the nineteenth century. All four volumes were published individually between
1802 and 1804. In the version of Don
Algonah that appears in The
Marvellous Magazine, the story is the same and there is a new illustration
of an owl on the front title page.
The entire text was
digitized by the Internet Archive in 2017 with funding from University of
Illinois Urbana Champaign Alternates. The digital version includes an image of
the vignette design on the front and back cover that is missing from the copy
in the University of Virginia Special Collections Library. The book has also
been reprinted multiple times in the twenty-first century. There are hardcover
and paperback copies available to be ordered online through Amazon. These newer
versions shortened the title to just Don Algonah. The space where the
author’s name is usually written, just has “Algonah
(Don, fict. name.).”
unknown whether or not the book sold well or poorly. A short snippet of the
work was included in the Georgia Courier, a weekly newspaper for Albany,
Doughtry County Georgia. On June 7, 1827 pages 13–16 of the book were printed
in two columns of the newspaper and left to be continued (Georgia Courier). Michael Kelly, a playwright who produced dozens
of works between 1797 and 1821, composed a play called Algonah, which
was performed in Drury Lane, London on April 30, 1802 (“Reminiscences of
Michael Kelly”). There are no details on the play in The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, but it appeared the same
year as Don Algonah: Or the Sorceress of Montillo.
this book has been reprinted, digitized, and well preserved, this work has not
been referenced frequently within academic scholarship. William Whyte Watt
wrote a book published in 1932, called Shilling Shockers of the Gothic
School: A Study of Chapbook Gothic Romances. In this book, Watt analyzes
different gothic works including, Don Algonah: Or the Sorceress of Montillo (29).
Point of View
Don Algonah: the Sorceress of Montillo is narrated in the third person for the majority of the text. There are also some interpolated tales in the middle of the story when some characters, such as D’Antares and Marano, share their past experiences. In these interpolated tales, the stories are told in first-person narration. During these moments when the character is sharing his own story, the narration focuses more on how that character feels as he relives his past experiences. When the characters finish telling their stories, the narration switches back to the third-person narrative. In both the interpolated tales and the third -person narration, there is a lot of dialogue between multiple characters.
Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:
The Inquisitors themselves saw it, and looked terrified. –“Tell what the chamber contained!” exclaimed the Suprema, “or the rack shall force it from you!” –“I know nothing of the chamber alluded to,” replied the Don, hardily. “You deny also,” said the Suprema, “any knowledge of your two wives?” –“I do,” said Algonah. A sigh was heard from the corpse of Amaranta. (66)
Sample Passage of an Interpolated Tale told by D’Antares:
“Marano, every day more enraptured with the portrait, sought for the original every where: lamenting the singularity of his fate, which precluded him from knowing if his mistress were old or young, dead or alive. Quitting Grenada in about a fortnight after this adventure, we entered the inn yard of a village in Andalusia. — Here a travelling fortune-teller, mounted on a tub, was amusing the gaping countrymen with his nostrums and gestures. Observing us to smile, he turned to us and said, ‘Senors. I know that which one or both of you would give the world to know; mark that, Senors!’ Marano immediately whispered me that the speech applied to himself, and, continued he, ‘I will have this man to sup with us when the villagers are gone.’” (10)
narration stretches across multiple plots and characters. As the passage above
indicates, this narration frequently relies on dialogue to express different
characters’ emotions. Within this overarching third-person narration, the many
personal tales told by the characters means that the narration jumps between
different characters’ storylines, which can be disorienting. During the characters’
interpolated tales, they sometimes leave open questions that will not be
answered until other characters relay their own separate experiences in the
future. The interpolated tales span across a large period of time so they feel
fast-paced, and they focus on specific characters, thus developing more
On the day of a grand
festival in Madrid, Duke d’Axala hosts a large celebration and invites every
wealthy family. Don Algonah and his daughter Aramenta arrive at the party at
midnight. Olivaro immediately notices Aramenta and expresses to his friend,
Marquis d’ Antares, his admiration for the girl. Marquis d’Antares proceeds to
tell Olivario that Aramenta’s father is forcing her to live in a convent,
leaving Olivaro in sadness.
Later that night, a
fire erupts in a saloon and Olivaro runs to the scene to find Aramenta trapped
in the building, so he saves her and carries her to a garden. When Aramenta
awakes, she confirms to Olivario that she is retiring from the world to live a
life of monastic seclusion. Before Olivaro can respond, Algonah appears and
orders Aramenta to leave with him. When Olivaro is leaving the garden, he meets
Marquis d’ Antares again, who asks Olivaro to follow him. When they both arrive
at Marquis d’ Antares home, he tells Olivaro a story.
Marquis d’ Antares
tells a story about his adventures with his close friend, Marano de Pinato. One
day, the two men were on a small boat exploring Grenda when it suddenly began
to storm. They lost sight of Grenada as the skies became dark, and they came
across a ruined Moorish castle and decided to use it for shelter. As they look
around the castle, Marano finds a dagger rusted with blood and he decides to
preserve it because he believes it is the blood of an innocent soul. When the
rain stops, they find out their boat had been destroyed by the storm. Marano
tells Marquis d’ Antares that the same agent that led them to the castle will
guide them back to Grenada. Marano says his belief in magic is confirmed by an
event that happened to him nine months ago, and he proceeds to tell Marquis d’
Antares the story.
Marano’s story begins
with him foraging for food for his comrades. During his search, he sees a lame
soldier and Marano asks him why he is straggling behind his comrades. The
soldier says that he has received a deadly blow in his heart and that Marano
was the only person who could save him. The soldier asks Marano to swear to
avenge his wound or a terrible fate will fall upon his house. Marano agrees and
the wounded soldier disappears. Marano says that the dagger they found in the
castle reminded him of this story.
The two friends wait
in the castle until the next morning to find that the castle had been partly
destroyed by a fire ordered by Philip to prevent resistance from the Moors.
Marano also finds a small portrait of a beautiful woman. He proclaims his
admiration for the woman in the portrait, and Marquis d’ Antares tells him that
the lady is wearing a Moorish dress which means she most likely died from the
cruel edict of Philip’s orders. The two men safely travel back to Grenada on
obsessed with the woman in the portrait and tries to find her everywhere. When
the two friends leave Grenada for Andalusia, they meet a fortune teller,
Rimanez. Marano shows Rimanez the portrait and asks him if the woman lives.
Rimanez says the woman is gone forever and quickly leaves, but Marano and
Marquis d’ Antares do not believe him. The two friends continue on their
journey to Tolosa, where Marano complains about superstitious activities. One
night a pale soldier appears at Marquis d’ Antares bedside and asks him to
follow him into the woods. Marquis d’ Antares agrees and the soldier orders Marquis
d’ Antares to observe something hidden in the branches of a tree. Suddenly,
Marquis d’ Antares hears two men approach the tree and the wounded soldier
disappears. The two men under the tree talk about losing a dagger to two
travellers in a Moorish castle and a dreadful deed they committed. Marquis d’
Antares hears this and jumps out of the tree and stabs one of the murderers,
Perez. The other man, Pedro, shoots Marquis d’ Antares with a pistol and
Clementia and Aramenta, find the wounded Marquis d’ Antares and takes him to
the Castle of Montillo for assistance. Marano comes to the castle and tells his
injured friend that he is the nephew of Don Algonah, the castle’s leader.
Marquis d’ Antares learns from Marano that Algonha’s first wife, Juliana, died.
He married his second wife, Lady Cleona, around the time of Philip’s
persecution of the Moors. She also died, leaving a daughter, Amaranta. Vertola,
an old stewardess living in the castle, sees Marano’s small portrait and says
that it is Lady Juliana. Vertola tells the two friends about Lady Juliana’s
suspicious death. On the day her coffin was screwed, Lucilia, Juliana’s maid,
saw Juliana kneeling in her old bedroom. Algonah caught Lucilla and carried her
to her chamber. After Lucilla told Vertola this story, he never heard from her
again. Vertola continues to talk about Algonah’s second wife. Lady Cleona was
married to Count Alvarez and had a daughter with him. Algonah was a friend of Count
Alvarez and fell in love with Cleona. The edict of Philip at the time tried to
exile Moorish families, so Don Alvarez attempted to escape to Algnoah’s castle,
disguised as a soldier. Unfortunately, Don Alvarez was murdered along the way
by assassins. Algonah then transported the Countess and her daughter to
Grenada. Shortly after, he married Lady Cleo in his castle. During the wedding
reception, the figure of a murdered Alvarez threatened Algonah. The first
daughter of Lady Cleona was sent to Grenada by Algonah, and was reported to
During Marquis d’
Antares stay at the castle, he begins to feel affection towards one of
Algonah’s daughters, Clementia. When Algonah arrives home to his castle, the
two men decide to see what was in the chambers of the castle. As Marquis d’
Antares is travelling across the stairs, he hears Algonah and the assassin,
Pedro, conducting a plan to keep the two friends at the castle for a few days
longer so that Pedro could assassinate them. The next morning, the two men
immediately leave the Castle of Montillo. Marquis d’ Antares and Marano say
their sad goodbyes and separate to leave for their individual homes.
When Marquis d’
Antares finishes his story, Olivaro tells Marquis d’ Antares that they will
free Clementia and Amaranta from Algonah. Marquis d’ Antares is excited to hear
this and he visits the palace of Count de Bellara where Aramenta is staying and
requests to speak to her. He tells her about Olivaro’s plans to marry her so
she can be free. Right after Marquis d’ Antares leaves, Algonah confuses Marquis
d’ Antares as Aramenta’s lover. He is so upset that he orders his daughter to
be sent to the convent that night. When Olivaro hears of this news he asks his
cousin Emelina to help Amarenta escape, who agrees to enter the convent to help
her cousin. Olivaro requests Amarenta to meet him in the garden for her escape.
When the day arrives for the two lovers to meet, Amarenta and Emelina meet
Olivaro in the garden. Before they could escape, Amarenta is stabbed by Pedro
hiding in the bushes. Pedro tries to escape and Olivaro chases after him.
Algonah is waiting outside the convent and accidentally stabs Pedro, mistaking
him for Olivaro. Before Algonah could plunge the sword again, Marano fires a
pistol at Algonah. Olivaro rushes back to Amaranta, where she dies in his arms.
The Inquisition appears at the murder scene and arrests everyone.
Marano tells his
story about finally finding his mistress, Seraphino, after he and Marquis d’
Antares went on their separate ways. Seraphino was a slave in a castle owned by
Lady Juliana’s brother, Solyman. Marano expresses his love to Seraphino, and he
finds out that Seraphino is Count Alvarez’s daughter who was sent to Grenada
and sold as a slave. Rimanez and Lady Cleo also arrive at Solyman’s castle and
the conjurer explains how he was hired by Algonah to kill Lady Cleona. He
pitied the lady, so he spread a rumor that she had drowned and then confined
her in a castle for all these years. Marano, Rimanez, Seraphino, and Lady Cleo
are travelling together when they find Lady Juliana locked in the eastern
chamber of the Montillo castle. Juliana explains how Algonah was the only
person who knew about the secret passage. Her maid and old stewardesses were
also locked up because they found out Algonah had buried a wax figure in her coffin.
The group then set off to Madrid.
examination, all of Algonah’s past wrongdoings are revealed. Algonah stabs
himself with a dagger and dies. During the trial, a sorceress also revealed
that the soldier who was haunting Marano was Count Alvarez, and he wanted his
remains to be buried.
After the trial ends,
Marano performs the funeral rites for the remains of Count Alvarez and buries
his daughter Amarnata beside him. Algonah’s widows get to choose which
apartments of the castle they want to live in. Clementia and Marquis d’ Antares
are reunited again and Marama is happily in love with Seraphino. After Amaranta
is respectfully buried, Emelina consents to marry Olivaro. The three friends
and their relatives live the rest of their lives in happiness.
Don Algonah: Or the
Sorceress of Montillo. A Romantic Tale. London: Printed for T. Hurst, 1802.
“Don Algonah, Or the
Sorceress of Montillo: A Romantic Tale.” Georgia Courier, 7 June 1827.
Marvellous Magazine and Compendium of Prodigies. London: Printed for
T. Hurst, 1802.
Michael Kelly, of the King’s Theatre, and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Including a Period of
nearly Half a Century; with Original Anecdotes of Many Distinguished
Persons, Political, Literary, and Musical.” The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, vol. 7, no. 28, 1825, pp. 475-498.
Watt, William Whyte,
1912-. Shilling Shockers of the Gothic School: a Study of Chapbook Gothic Romances. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932.
A tale of magic, secrets, and betrayal, Leitch Ritchie’s 1846 novel set in France features several romances that must overcome the divides created by religion and class, while trust is tested by unknown foes with sinister motives
a novel by Leitch Ritchie, published in 1846 by Simms and M’Intyre (also
written as Simms and McIntyre) of Belfast and later also London. The book
itself is 390 pages, and its font is small and closely set together. Its
margins are likewise small with the right and left margins being 1.35 cm and
the top and bottom margins being 1 cm. The book is 16.5 cm long, 10.5 cm wide,
and 3.0 cm in thickness, making it physically quite compact. This edition is
bound together as one novel, but as implied by the dedication on page five, it
has also been published in multiple volumes. There are two other editions, one
with two volumes and one with three, both of which were published in 1836. The
cover of the book is intricate, with calf leather covering the spine and
corners of the book which indicates it was half bound, and the rest of the
cover is marbled in blue and red. The leather on the front and back covers is
decorated with a floral design that was impressed using a bind-rolled floral
tool. On the spine, the design resembles a thistle, which could be a reference
to Ritchie’s homeland, Scotland, whose national flower has been the thistle
since 1249. The author is also referenced many times inside the book. His name
is embossed on the spine, is labeled on pages 3 and 4, and referenced again in
the notes at the end of the book. On page 3, his name is also accompanied by
some of the titles of his other novels and is followed by “etc. etc.”
indicating that he has written many works. There are two title pages, the first
with only with The Magician printed on it, and the second
(on page 3) with The Magician printed along with Ritchie’s
name and other works. This page is outlined in a black lined box. The other
stories referenced that were written by Ritchie include The Game of
Life, Romance of French History, and Journey to St.
Petersburgh and Moscow. Also included on this page is the publisher along
with their location along with the publication date of the novel. A note
from the author precedes the main text, and here Ritchie explains the lack of
magic in the novel, despite its title. He also explains his inspiration for
many of his characters, many of which were based on historical figures. One
last inclusion is Ritchie’s mention of the character Gilles de Retz, whom he
had previously written about three years earlier in Wanderings by the Loire,
an account of the character’s history and background.
The book is in relatively good condition,
with its spine being the only thing in slightly poor physical condition. The
spine is cracked severely but still holds the novel together, while the inside
pages look untouched. Also of consideration, the spine is tightly bound, which
might contribute to the anomaly that while from the outside it looks worn, the
inside is in good condition, as it takes effort to open the novel and in doing
so the spine is worn out at an accelerated rate.
Inside the book, one of the first things of interest is an armorial bookplate belonging to John Waldie of Hendersyde Park which is located in Ednam, Scotland, a small town near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. The bookplate also has a capital E written in the top left corner. Under the bookplate, is a blue book label that states “Novels and Romance; No. 893” indicating that this novel belonged to a large private collection of Waldie. This was most likely placed at the same time as the armorial bookplate but added second as it abuts the armorial plate so closely. Only the armorial bookplate has left an impression on the page adjacent to the back of the front cover. This is most likely because the bookplate’s paper, as opposed to the book label’s, is thicker and the ink used when printing it has transferred onto the facing page.
The interior of the book is void of any
illustrations except for an intricate drawing of the first letter in the first
chapter on page seven. The letter I (belonging to the first word of the novel,
“in”) is shaded and drawn to have flowers adorning it. The first and last two
pages of the novel (which are not in the official page count) are blank and are
thinner and more yellowed in comparison to the rest of the pages, which are
slightly brittle but in overall better condition. The pages all together are
stiff and inflexible, but this could be due to the novel’s tight binding and
resulting infrequent use.
A unique feature of this novel is that in the back it contains a receipt of purchase by Robert K. Black. It is in linen paper which was determined by holding up the receipt up to the light where the watermark “698 Linen Faced” is revealed, which describes the type and brand of paper. Some of the aspects (name, address, telephone, telegram, etc.) appear to be previously printed onto the paper, while other details look to have been added by a typewriter (including the date of purchase, the book purchased, and the buyer). The receipt comes from George Bates Rare and Interesting Books in London, and it shows that the novel was purchased by Robert Black on August 8, 1939, almost one hundred years after The Magician’s publication. This would have also been one year after Black’s purchase of Michael Sadleir’s collection in 1938 which was immediately placed at the University of Virginia. From 1938 to 1942, Black continued to add more novels into the gothic collection, one of which was The Magician. On the receipt, it can even be seen that the seller incorrectly typed many parts of the receipt. On it, the book purchased is The Nagician (which was not amended) and Ritchie’s last name was originally incorrectly spelled with a “w” at the end, which was later typed over with an e. The date of the book’s publication was also originally incorrectly typed, stating originally 1848, and the 8 was later typed over with a 6.
The Magician is
a novel written by the Scottish author Leitch Ritchie. Before its publication,
Ritchie had already written multiple novels, sketches, and short stories, some
of which include The Romance of History, France (1831)
and The Game of Life (1830). Ritchie was well known in the
literary sphere due to his numerous works and had gained merit from his short
stories (The Athenaeum 396). A year after The Magician was
published in 1836, Ritchie had even embarked on a tour for his series, Ireland,
Picturesque and Romantic; or, Heath’s Picturesque Annual for 1838,
which was well-received (Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine 684). The Magician was
published in four main editions in Ritchie’s lifetime. The original publication
was in 1836, and during that year it was distributed by two publishers: John
Macrone as well as Carey, Lea, & Blanchard. John Macrone was based in
London but passed away in 1837, a year after The Magician’s publication
(Simkin). His version was distributed in three volumes. Carey, Lea, &
Blanchard published the novel in two volumes, and this was published in the
United States, giving The Magician a larger audience. Later,
in 1846, his novel was published in one volume by Simms & M’Intyre, a
London and Belfast based publisher. Their first version was in 1846, where the
volume consisted of 390 pages and was reprinted in the “Parlour Novelist” (a
collection of fiction reprints); this is the edition held by the University of
Virginia Sadleir-Black Collection. Simms & M’Intyre’s second printing
of The Magician was in 1853 and consisted of 320 pages and was
reprinted in the “Parlour Library,” another series of fiction reprints.
In periodicals at the time, The
Magician was advertised frequently by Macrone and Simms &
M’Intyre. Its advertisements were smaller on the page than larger names at the
time, such as Charles Dickens in The Athenaeum. Ritchie’s
advertisements, in contrast, were often found among groups of novels that were
either listed in “Lately Published” or “In the Press” sections (The
Athenaeum 1021; The Literary Gazette 12). In a select
few of the advertisements, Ritchie’s work would be given more space in print in
order to describe a brief summary. Despite the different periodicals it could
be found in, such as Gentleman’s Magazine and The
Court Magazine and Belle Assemblee, the blurb was consistently “The
Magician, the scene in France, and the epoch the end of the English dominion in
the fifteenth century, connected with the favourite studies of the period,
alchemy and magic, by Mr. Leitch Ritchie” (The Court Magazine and Belle
Alongside this promotion, there were few reviews for The Magician, all of which had varying opinions on the quality of the novel. Two of the more notably detailed ones, written in The Literary Gazette and The Athenaeum delivered negative feedback. The Literary Gazette labeled The Magician as “a complete failure” and commented specifically on the striking similarities to the Bible’s tale of Isaac and Rebecca (The Literary Gazette 360). Due to this, the reviewer questioned the originality of the plot and likened parts of it to another previously published novel, Kenilworth, stating that two of The Magician’s main characters created a dynamic that was “an exaggerated copy of Leicester and Alasco” (The Literary Gazette 360). The Athenaeum’s review was less harsh, but still nowhere near positive. Though the author praised Ritchie for his earlier works, he emphasized that he has “been less successful when his canvas was more ambitiously enlarged” (396). This review harped more on the concept of the title and its relation to the book, as any magic that is described in the book is later refuted by Ritchie and revealed to be mere tricks of the eye, stating “we cannot, however, understand why Mr. Ritchie should neutralize the effect of his story, by a careful and systematic destruction of the wonders it contains” (The Athenaeum 396). This review mainly consisted of criticism regarding introducing the idea of sorcery and gramarye only to in the end dissuade his readers from believing in its existence entirely. The Magician’s more positive reviews are less prevalent and take the form of short blurbs. The Examiner referenced a small review by The Globe in which they wrote, “We congratulate Mr. Ritchie on the sensation he has produced,” and the Athenaeum quickly referenced it as a “clever and forcible romance” (The Examiner 688; The Athenaeum 625). This seems to be the extent of the positive reviews, with only a couple more sources eliciting some optimistic words in his direction. Despite this, Ritchie is often referenced in reviews or advertisements for his other works, such as in the Examiner when Wearfoot Common is noted as being by “Leitch Ritchie, Author of ‘The Magician,’” which could indicate its approval by the general public as opposed to the critics, who seemed to have taken a negative stance on its content (The Examiner 181).
Presently, The Magician has
been adapted into digital copies, most notably the Simms & M’Intyre 1846
version has been electronically reproduced by HathiTrust Digital Library in
2011. HathiTrust has also reproduced volumes one through three of the 1836
Macrone publication and volumes one and two of the Carey, Lea & Blanchard
1836 publication. The 1853 version seems to be the only one missing in their
digital library. Google Books has electronically reproduced these specific
volumes as well.
Point of View
narrated in the third person, conveying the thoughts of all of the characters
as opposed to just one. The anonymous narrator provides information about
background and history that the characters, individually or collectively, might
not know. Within this third-person narration, the narrator also occasionally
uses the first-person, particularly utilizing “we” when relaying background
knowledge. This is done sparingly, only at the beginning of chapters or in the
midst of a description. The narrator also directly addresses “the reader”
within the narration.
Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:
The attention of the scholar [David] was now directed exclusively to the space within the circle; and after an interval which appeared painfully long, he saw a light-coloured vapor rising from the altar, which was followed by a sudden flame, illuminating for an instance the whole apartment. But the smoke and flame vanished as suddenly as they had arisen, and, at the same moment, the appearance of a man clothed in black armor stood by the table. (258)
Sample Passage of Pauline Narrating a Dream:
“I followed him, for I could not help it. He called my name, and I mounted after him into the air, higher, higher than the lark soars or the cloud rolls. The stars swept in circles above our heads, hissing through the golden air and the earth was like a star beneath our feet, only stationary and alone. Then Prelati turned round, and I saw that he was a demon of the abyss, and I flew shrieking down the fields of space, till the whole universe rang with my cries. But he seized me; he caught me by my long hair, that streamed in the wind, when suddenly his arm was struck from his body by the blow of a sword. We are now safe. Hide me, love, in thy coat, and lay the Bloody Heart next to mine. But take away the dead arm that still clings to my hair. –Faugh! it makes me shudder. Cut off the tress-there– ‘O Douglas, Douglas, Tender and true!’” (261)
Sample Passage including an Interjection and Reference to the Reader:
Soon however, his mind seemed to revert to its usual occupations. He was evidently preparing to retire for the night; and, after having opened the door of a closet, where his bed appeared to be placed, he sank down upon his knees to pray. In his prayer, which was delivered with energy and deep devotion, the student joined mentally; and as the form of supplication was not particular to the personages of our history, but common to many of those who were in that day engaged in similar pursuits, we think it well to present the reader with the following copy. (52)
The third-person narration reveals the
actions that occur in the novel as well as the motivations or reasonings behind
these actions. They also contribute to the many interpretations of the
situations that multiple characters simultaneously encounter. By presenting
each character’s experiences, the narration builds a bigger picture of the
overarching plot. The example above shows how David is conceptualizing the
resurrection of Prelati, but this is only one point of view. Later, the
narrator also presents Pauline’s thoughts in the form of the dream she had when
she fainted from the sight of Prelati. From her perspective, an impending
danger regarding Prelati, and her safety is secured by Douglas (Archibald) is
foreshadowed. While the introduction to her position and story is in the third
person, her dialogue is told in the first person. Alongside developing these
relationships among the novel’s characters, by consistently using “we” the
narrator also develops a relationship between himself and the reader. With this
relationship, he can also include new knowledge that is essential to understand
the context of the novel’s settings and characters.
The novel begins in 1497 in Paris, during the welcome parade
for the new prince, where 3000 people are waiting. A young unnamed Scottish
knight is introduced and, he enters the crowd, disappearing past the gates of
Paris. Stopping on a bridge, the knight talks to the echevin, Jacquin
Houpelande who is a member of the legislative body, introducing Scotland’s part
as an ally of Paris in the war. The French needed their help in defeating
England during the Hundred Years War. The knight stops to think about how
well-designed Paris is for the occasion, with everyone dressed up, and he
concludes that everyone is represented but the Jews, who were banished by the
edict of the past prince. He continues into the city, stopping by the
university to watch the parade, full of royals and dignitaries. In it is the
dauphin, who is betrothed to Margaret, the young princess of Scotland. While
walking further, the unnamed knight is attacked by three English students who
draw their swords, but a man, Douglas, shouts at them, and descends into the
streets followed by three other men. Douglas, and his three companions, Nigel,
Bauldy, and Andrew, defend the Scottish knight, and once the fight is over, the
knight goes to talk to his rescuers. He realizes that he knows their leader who
was his childhood friend, Archibald, as they are both from the Douglas clan
All leave to go to Archibald’s room, and upon entering,
David and Archibald begin to argue over an unlit candle about David’s choice to
become a student, which leaves him unpaid. The flame suddenly flashes up,
though David takes no notice. David leaves for the night, entering a doorway
that leads him to a tunnel under the university. Here, David’s master is
introduced, the alchemist Messire Jean, along with his master’s daughter whom
David has developed feelings towards over the years. The two men hear a noise
and a knock on the final door, which turns out to be Messire Jean’s friend
Prelati. Prelati introduces the concept of the philosopher’s stone and then
brings up Jean’s enemy Gilles de Retz, who betrayed him long ago. While they
begin to talk, David talks to the daughter who tells him her secret: she’s
Jewish. She makes him promise not to reveal what he knows as his knowledge
could kill them.
The next morning, David has a hard time dealing with the
news, so he seeks out Archibald to confess to him his secret life. They walk
through Paris and Archibald, a staunch believer in Christianity, over David’s
choice to indulge in Hermeticism. While passing people, David mentions that he
recognizes a man named Orosmandel, a famed philosopher. Archibald’s past is
explained; he came to Paris to assist Margaret, Princess of Scotland, on her
journey to meeting the Dauphin of France. On the way he saved a woman known as
Mademoiselle de Laval, who warned him that her attacker is the Black Knight and
tells him to make friends with a man named Orosmandel. The flashback ends, and
now Archie stands in the theatre recognizing her in the crowd with Orosmandel.
The next day, David explains to his roommates Nigel, Andrew,
and Bauldy, that he must leave, and they accuse him of valuing his life above
their own. Hearing this, David is stunned and leaves the apartment, along with
his education at the university. He meets with Messire Jean, who tells him to
accompany his daughter, Hagar, to Nantes. David agrees and tells Jean in his
absence to find his three friends to uptake the position of his assistant.
Around the same time, Andrew, Bauldy, and Nigel receive a visit from Archibald
who is trying to find David. They don’t know where he went, but Archibald later
receives an anonymous note telling him to meet at the inn and tavern,
Pomme-du-Pin. David and Hagar meet him, and David tells Archibald that he is
going to work for Orosmandel as his assistant. Archibald insists that he will
pursue alchemy if David can prove it is real. Hagar tells them she must leave
but tells them to wait for her. While waiting, David inquires about Archibald’s
relationship with Mademoiselle de Laval, who Archibald confesses he loves. Upon
Hagar’s absence, they resolve to travel together to Brittany. While stopped for
the night, Archibald encounters a young woman who tells him that the Damsel de
Laval is in danger and he must go to the ruinous castle nearby. There, he
overhears a plot to capture the Damsel, and he escapes as the Black Knight
Hagar is now talking to two other women, Pauline and Marie,
who want her to join their journey. Hagar insists that she must go straight to
Nantes, but Pauline will not let her leave. Marie helps Hagar escape, switching
cloaks with her, and Hagar passes the guards without suspicion. In the morning,
Marie and Hagar leave for Nantes and end up traveling alongside a parade, where
Gilles de Retz is seen. Hagar, now startled, says she is going to seek out
Rabbi Solomon, who resides in Nantes, as he will grant her safety and she will be
able to live there with her people. Marie’s betrothed, Jean, hears this and
tells her that he will oversee her travels there. He instead betrays her,
leading her to Gilles de Retz’s city apartment, locking her in to be kept
prisoner. Elsewhere, the Damsel de Laval thinks about Archibald, questioning if
he loves her for her money or if he has true intentions. She reveals that she
is Pauline, who spoke to Hagar earlier. Pauline goes to talk to Orosmandel, who
is employed by her father, and his assistant, the dwarf.
On the road to Brittany, David tells Archibald that he is worried about Hagar, and Archibald insinuates that David is falling in love with someone who is “unfit” causing David to draw his sword in her defense. The peasant girl interrupts the fight, telling them that her name is Marie, and that she is getting married. Her cousin, Lissette sings an ominous bridal song, which and Marie leaves crying. David also leaves, and he runs into the dwarf who tells him that it’s his job to escort David to La Verrieré. There, Orosmandel and Gilles, talk about their plans to sacrifice a willing virgin to the devil. They plan on sacrificing one of three girls, Gilles’ daughter Pauline, Hagar, or Marie. They contemplate sacrificing Hagar because she would be willing to save either her father or David’s life, and Marie because she left before she could consummate her marriage. Later Lissette taps on Andrew’s window, telling him that Marie is lost. Archibald runs into the woods, and there he finds the Black Knight and his men. At the same time, Nigel, Bauldy, and Andrew enter the same part of the woods, and after escaping the Black Knight, they all agree to save David, who they fear has been put into grave danger. When they arrive at Nantes, Messire Jean, whose name is Caleb, is with them, as he left Paris with the trio. All try to figure out how to infiltrate La Verrieré to find David.
David is working for Orosmandel, using his position to
figure out how to rescue Hagar. Later that night, Orosmandel sends for both David
and Pauline so they can watch him summon the ghost of Prelati. Pauline faints,
causing David to have to carry her to another room, Hagar’s prison. There,
David warns Hagar to not take anything given to her, and he leaves saying that
their religion no longer separates them as they are all equal at the gates of
Andrew finds the house of Rabbi Solomon, where he meets
Caleb. While talking, two men, Claude Montrichard and Beauchamp, enter asking
Caleb for gold so they can capture one of Gilles’ territories. They explain
that Gilles is being investigated for his perversion of nature and religion and
the government plans on arresting him. Caleb agrees to help them so long as
they promise to rescue Hagar.
Back at La Verrieré, Hagar, contemplates her feelings for David
and questions Gilles’s motives. She tries to leave, but the guard tells her
that she needs permission from the baron. Hagar goes to request it, but the
baron tells her that he cannot give freedom nor can she receive it. She
bargains that if David is set free, she won’t try to leave. David enters to
talk to Gilles, and Andrew comes in as the ambassador of Houpelande. Gilles
tells David to leave, but David refuses, saying he is there to protect Hagar.
Hagar reveals Prelati is alive, and before they all part, David tells Andrew to
meet him later that night. Andrew heads for the tower, where David tells him to
relay to Archibald that he must ally with Beauchamp and Montrichard, Prelati is
alive, and Pauline is in danger. David later discovers a trapdoor in the floor,
where Orosmandel and Prelati must have staged the summoning. He hides behind
the curtain as Orosmandel and Gilles talk about their sacrifice, determining
that Pauline must die. Later that night, David hears his name and discovers Marie
in Gilles’ arms. Gilles runs, and David helps Marie escape through the newfound
Andrew travels back to Nantes to meet with the rest of the
men, and from there they split up. Andrew and Archibald take the road with
Montrichard, while Nigel and Bauldy set forth on Houpelande’s wagon. While this
is happening, Orosmandel and Gilles set up the ritual, and since Pauline won’t
be a willing participant (which is required for the ceremony’s success), they
convince Hagar, telling her David has died, and she is sent back to her cell.
In another location, David has successfully convinced Caleb of his love for
Hagar is taken from her cell by the Orosmandel, who has told her he will take her away as he wants her for his mistress. She refuses him, claiming love for David and that Orosmandel is too old for her to love. It’s at this moment that, Orosmandel tears away his beard and cloak, revealing that he was Prelati all along. While Prelati is distracted, Caleb stabs him and is subsequently thrown into the nearby wall by Prelati. Both die, and Hagar leaves with David. In another part of the castle, Archibald rescues Pauline. The novel concludes with the anonymous narrator giving an account of what has happened since then. Archibald and Pauline marry, as do Andrew and Marie, along with Bauldy and Felicité. David and Hagar leave together to travel to far and foreign lands. Three years later, a procession is held for Gilles where he is charged for sorcery and burned for being a wizard.
“Advertisement.” The Athenaeum, no.
1348, 1853, pp. 1021.
“Advertisement. “ Examiner, no.
1499, 1836, pp. 688.
“Book Review.” Examiner, no. 2460, 1855, pp. 181-182.
‘THE BOOKS OF THE SEASON.” Tait’s Edinburgh
Magazine, vol. 4, no. 47, 1837, pp. 678–688.
“LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.” The Court Magazine
and Belle Assemblee, July 1832-Jan.1837, vol. 8, no. 2, 1836, pp. 7.
“LITERARY NOVELITIES.” The Literary Gazette
: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, no. 989,
1836, pp. 12.
“The Magician.” The Athenaeum, no. 449,
1836, pp. 396.
“The Magician.” The Literary Gazette : A
Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, no. 1011, 1836,
Ritchie, Leitch. The Magician. Belfast,
Simms & M’Intyre, 1846.